The Xalapa Cathedral and the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Mexico's Veracruz state were vandalized June 8 during a march protesting local police repression.

According to La Silla Rota, the incident that sparked the demonstration was the death in police custody of Carlos Andrés Navarro. Family and friends of the young man, who had demonstrated peacefully, disavowed and condemned the violence, the media reported.

Graffiti spray painted on church walls included the messages "pedophiles," "oppressive state," "rapists," "war on the state and capitalism," and the anarchist symbol.

Various public and private buildings in downtown Xalapa were damaged by about 50 marchers.

ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language news partner, reported that a statue of the Blessed Virgin in the Xalapa cathedral was also damaged,

Five churches in Xalapa were tagged during the early hours of June 1 with slogans such as "keep your rosaries off our ovaries," "(abortion) will become law," "get angry sister," "no more femicides," "abortion will be legal," "pederasts," and "pedophile murderers."

Speaking to ACI Prensa, Fr. José Manuel Suazo Reyes, communications director of the Archdiocese of Xalapa, commenting on the June 8 incident, said that "unfortunately we're experiencing these kinds of demonstrations that in their passage destroy everything they find."

"We lament that law enforcement would tolerate these kinds of outrageous acts against third parties. We citizens are defenseless," he added.

"Vandals this day sprayed painted graffiti on walls and buildings, broke windows and damaged businesses, sowing terror and fear among the people. That's the scene we saw this morning. We condemn this kind of violent demonstration and denounce the inaction of law enforcement," Suazo said.

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The priest underscored that "freedom of expression and demonstrations have a limit--the rights of third parties. You can't demand the end of violence with more violence."